The amount of children under the age of 6 now considered at risk for lead poisoning increased from 77,000 to 442,000. On Wednesday, May 16, 2012, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention accepted a lowered threshold for lead poisoning diagnosis, increasing the number of children at risk for lead poisoning to five times the number under the previous standard.
Dangerous Effects from Lead Exposure
Exposure to lead is toxic to the developing brain. Brain damage is caused from prenatal exposure and to infants and toddlers. The effects can materialize years after the exposure and include behavioral problems, lower IQ, heart problems and reproductive problems.
The main source of lead exposure is lead-based paint found in the home. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 38 million homes throughout the country still contain lead-based paint.
Homeowners are often unaware of the dangers of their home. For example, old leaded windows and chipped or peeling paint can produce flaking and dust that settles. If the debris settles on children’s’ toys, and later comes in contact with their hands/mouths, it has poisonous potential. Those especially at risk? Older homes, built before the dangers of certain chemicals became widely disseminated.
Extreme Budget Cuts in Government Funded Lead Removal Assistance
Although the new testing information will now serve to educate parents and diagnose toxicity exposure, it also means that until yesterday, when your child’s doctor previously stated that a blood lead test was negative, today that same test might not be negative. The testing mechanisms have been defective – and as a result, countless cases of lead poisoning have not been accurately diagnosed.
Funding for the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has been cut by 93 percent this year: from 29.2 million dollars in 2011 to 2 million in 2012. The CDC is concerned about the health effects on children, because without proper funding, they are unable to implement their safety initiatives. HUD’s support for removing lead hazards from homes has also been cut down to an all-time low.
The loss of funding of these programs is just another consequence of today’s devastating economic climate, and illustrates the importance of seeking the counsel of an experienced attorney to help alleviate the stress and potential danger of the situation. Exposure to toxic and poisonous chemicals is often the cause of brain impairment and illness in children. If your child has brain damage or is exhibiting symptoms of brain damage and you suspect exposure to toxic chemicals, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your legal options.